From Academic Kids

Tuition means instruction, teaching or a fee charged for educational instruction especially at a formal institution of learning.

Tuition is charged by educational institutions to assist with funding of staff and faculty, course offerings, lab equipment, computer systems, libraries, facility upkeeping, and to provide a comfortable learning experience for its students.

Some methods students use to pay tuition include:

Most students who pay for tuition have fees that are greater than their savings. Thus, some students have to take part time jobs and/or take out loans. Those who take part time jobs worry about handling both the course load and working. Those who take out loans have to ensure they are able to re-pay or else risk bad credit ratings.

Historical and social content

It is interesting to understand the historical basis for tuition. In ancient times, many teachers were self-employed philosophers who offered their wisdom to those willing to listen to them. Students were then asked to offer money for the teacher's subsistence. For example, Confucius is reputed to have been the first among the Chinese to support himself by teaching.

This is in contrast to customs in tribal people where it was usual for elders to undertake education of children. In modern times, many developed countries have adopted a dual scheme for education: while basic (ie. high school) education is free, higher education is usually given for a fee or tuition.

Tuition raises interesting questions about the divisions between the rich and poor. It is well-known that high tuitions are a deterrent to students wishing to undertake higher education. This level of deterrence is not unfamiliar with the financial capacities of the student and his family; effectively, students from richer families will be able to afford more expensive education.

There is also substantial evidence that education levels are primordial in determining salary. This leads to the natural conclusion that higher tuition rates are an important factor of the low permeability between social classes: children of rich parents tend to be rich themselves, and poorer families yield poor children. This in turn can cause class tensions and an increasing gap between rich and poor. Even in countries where tuition fees have generally been much lower than average, the general trend has been towards marked increases in tuition. For example, Canada has seen its tuition fees more than double in the last ten years.

Canadian Tuition

Facts and Figures

  • In 2003, Undergraduate arts students paid roughly around $4,000CDN in tuition. In 1990/91 the national average undergraduate arts tuition cost $1,464 per year.
  • Between 1990/91 and 2000/01, tuition rose 126.2 per cent, or six times faster than the 20.6 per cent rise in the rate of inflation during the same period.
  • If tuition had risen according to inflation, the average cost of attending a university in Canada as an arts student would have been $2,100 in 2001.
  • Undergraduate arts students in Nova Scotia pay the most tuition for that program at around $5,557, while residents of Ontario are second at $4,923.
  • The largest average tuition hike in Canada occurred in British Columbia from 2002/03 to 2003/04 with an massive increase of 30.4 percent. This rise was initiated by the British Columbia Liberal government having lifted the tuition freeze, and as a consequence, institutions have increased tuition. Many students from universities and colleges around the province have complained, and have protested against the hikes, some teaching assistants even going on strike.
  • Residents of Quebec have had seven consecutive tuition freezes since 1996/97 and currently have the lowest tuition in the country of $1,675 per year. In order to avoid over-population of the Quebec university system, 4,300$ are charged for students from other provinces, closer to the national average.
  • Professional programs such as dentistry, medicine, and law average the highest tuition across Canada and have also posted the largest average increases in fees this year with hikes of 20.9, 16.7 and 19.4 per cent respectively, compared with 2002/03.
  • Between 1990/91 and 1999/2000, university tuition rose by an average of 9.6 per cent a year.



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